The Best Thing

When I was a young teenager, I fell in love with reading. I would check out numerous books from the library, and particularly in the summer, I would read for hours on end. I think this is one of the main reasons that I also developed a love for writing and the written word in general.
As I moved into high school, I discovered a new author and a favorite series. Michael Philips had released a series entitled The Journals of Corrie Belle Hollister, and I seemingly couldn’t get enough. The protagonist, Corrie, was so much like me, it was uncanny. She was the oldest sibling in her family, loved to write, and had always gotten the impression that she was different from those around her. The series takes place over a span of over ten years. The reader first meets Corrie when she is fifteen and mourning the loss of her mother. Corrie’s mother and siblings had been in the process of traveling to California in order to find the children’s uncle. Their father had left them several years earlier, so it was just Corrie, her mother, and her four brothers and sisters in the mid-1850s.
The series follows Corrie as she takes on the responsibility of her siblings. She is a big sister but a mother at the same time, and before long, she finds that her independent spirit is being hindered by her commitments to home and family. But a turn of events brings Corrie’s father back into the picture, and over the course of the next few years, he meets and falls in love with a widow from the community. As she reaches her mid-twenties, Corrie finds herself at a crossroads as she contemplates what she should do next.
By that time in her life, she had begun to explore her writing through reporting for various newspapers. She covered the Civil War through the use of her pen, and even traveled back east to immerse herself in the action as the war came to an end. A set of complicated political circumstances results in Corrie being shot, and near the end of the series, she finds herself waking up in a room she has never seen before.
I won’t spoil the ending for you in case you are interested in reading the books for yourself. But since I have read the series through several times, I find myself getting choked up a little when I think of what is to come for Corrie in her life’s journey. She had always assumed that her writing and independent spirit would not allow her to be married or have a family. For a long time, she also believed that her mother didn’t find her comely enough to attract a husband.
So when Corrie begins to entwine her life with a good, Christian man, she begins to ask all kinds of questions. As she corresponds with the one she intends to marry, she asks:
“Will our lives matter? What will we do that will be significant when we are old? What will we look back on and say, “That counted for something that was a best thing, not merely a good thing”? Will we have helped anyone? Will anyone know God more intimately because of us? Will we have made any difference in God’s kingdom? What value does life have if we do not do these things?” (A Home for the Heart, p. 95)
For Corrie, the prospect of getting married changed everything. She questioned everything she thought she knew about her purpose and what God wanted her to do with her life. And even though I am not in the same stage of life as my beloved favorite character, I find myself raising similar questions but with different motives.
As I have progressed into my early thirties, I have found that I am more reflective. My mid-to-late twenties were filled with self-discovery and a motivation for independence. I completed three novels and released a CD because I enjoyed the creative process, but it wasn’t very often that I actually considered the greater purpose of my glorified hobbies. Now as I look back on those years, the questions come:
What did it all matter? I’m not selling very many books lately, and my CDs are collecting dust, so was it all a waste of time and energy?
When I perceived that God was calling me to a deeper connection with Him, I found myself enrolling in grad school and pursuing a ministry degree. Although I still sang, gave the occasional concert, and blogged, I was not engaged in the efforts of a novelist and singer/songwriter. Sometimes, I missed the drive toward success and the constant movement forward, but once again, the questions would come:
Now that I have graduated from grad school, been employed as a worship and music director, and continuing to direct the camp for teens with disabilities, I wonder about the Kingdom value of these activities. Like Corrie, I wonder if I am moving in the right direction. Perhaps one could easily say that my worship leading has Kingdom value, and yes, on the surface it does. But I need to constantly check my heart and motives. If ever I would start to put myself first or value my voice and talents more than the greater purpose of worship, I would need to revaluate my intentions.
I think my greatest sense of uncertainty relates to my work at the camp. I have been directing for several years now, and every summer, I consider if it will be my last session in leadership. I have asked myself numerous times if this is God’s purpose for me. Am I reaching others for God as I promote leadership and career awareness for teens with disabilities? Does my example and heart for Him draw others to His side? I don’t have very many opportunities to speak about Him when I am at camp, so I wonder…
This post will not end with a clear answer or conclusion. These questions that I am processing have been at the center of my prayers for quite some time now, and as I complete camp activities this summer, I am sure my thoughts will continue in this direction.
I think it is good to be aware of one’s purpose and greater goal in life, so I invite you to ask yourself some of Corrie’s questions and consider God’s plan for your life. Our experiences are constantly moving us either closer to His will for our lives or beyond where He would call us to go. It takes a great deal of discernment, praying, listening, and waiting, but as we work through questions such as these, we are preparing ourselves for a closer walk with Him.


One thought on “The Best Thing

  1. Amen!! When you were born and when you died don’t matter as long as you lived your dash for the Lord!! Have a Blessed and JOYFUL(not HAPPY:) time at camp, Love ya!!

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